Google Home app gets redesigned controls [Update: Rolling out]

Ahead of Next Generation Design, the Google Home app rolls out a new design for “common smart home device controls.”

Update 9/27: About a month after it was announced, redesigned controls for the Google Home app are starting to appear for some smart devices. However, it is not a drastic change.

One person on Reddit noticed that their non-Android/Google TV device had a pill-shaped on/off button. Replaces the previous circle with a selected colored background. This design certainly makes better use of the screen and is larger, which some may appreciate.

However, it no longer refers to the room in which the device is located, while the name is smaller in the upper left corner with an “x” for closing. This change has not yet been widely rolled out on the devices we checked out this evening.

Original 8/29The changes are meant to provide “easier control,” and Google said fans, air purifiers, vacuum cleaners, curtains, TVs and other “common smart home devices” would benefit. The company is supposed to indicate which page you get after selecting a device in the home page feed.

It is unclear if the changes will be purely cosmetic or if there will also be functionality improvements. It’s strange not to mention cameras, smart screens, or speakers. Meanwhile, it’s not clear if the improvements are just for dedicated Google Home-compatible TVs or if Chromecast-connected displays will benefit as well.

This redesign of Google Home device controls is rolling out with Google Home version 2.57, which is widely available on iOS but still rolling out for Android. However, there is likely to be a server-side component of availability because we didn’t spot any changes even after the update.

The current design of the brooms and fans is below:

Google Home’s latest visual updates have introduced interactive device switches in the home network. You can quickly take certain actions (play/pause, volume, on/off, and brightness) with a tap or slide. The Home tab has likewise been revamped with a zip menu to show “Recent and Relevant Updates”. Tablet improvements are also supposed to come.

If this control redesign is indeed rolled out, it suggests that the next generation of user interface could be more focused on home screens rather than anything deeper, although many hope there will be a larger app architecture and performance changes in the Store.

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